The index shows that the US economy as a whole was 93% back to normal as of June 18. But New York was only at 83%, leaving it with the furthest to go to get back into pre-Covid shape.
New York isn’t the only state below the 90% mark, though it is at the bottom of the list.
In 2020, New York’s GDP dropped to $1.7 trillion. That might not sound like a big difference, but we’re dealing in trillions of dollars here. When states that are economic powerhouses underperform, it’s not great for the recovery of the entire nation.
Why New York lags behind
The biggest factor is the scope of the economic destruction New York City suffered during the height of the pandemic, when it was the epicenter of the outbreak. This led to more severe lockdown protocols than in many other parts of the country.
On top of that, the New York City economy is heavily reliant on service-driven industries. But offices are still mostly empty, and only some workers are commuting. That’s bad news for the coffee shops, dry cleaners and lunch spots that support the office infrastructure.
“More specific to New York City is also business travel and tourism that has just stopped,” said Moody’s Analytics’ economist Matt Colyer. It’s unclear when those travelers will return.
And the challenges don’t end there: One of the components of the Back-to-Normal Index that holds New York back the most is the shortage of restaurant-goers, according to Colyer. The state is still 40% below its pre-pandemic, eat-in diner volume, while the nation as a whole is down only 13%.
“I think with New York lifting its restrictions last week, I would expect for some of that gap to close,” Colyer told CNN Business.
The state has been more cautious than most in lifting restrictions to avoid new flare ups of the virus. But the scarring economic effect will be a factor for a while.